We live in the smartphone generation. Communication has evolved from simple mobile capabilities to multifaceted capacities. Aside from being able to communicate via text and calls, these devices can solve complex computations, and connect to the Internet, allowing the user to download virtually any information needed at a given time and place at the touch of a button.
That’s not necessarily a good thing. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not bashing smartphones. I own and use one, too. They have positively influenced our day-to-day lives, especially in how we interact with one another. But we also have to consider the negative effects of these devices, mainly dumbing us down because we’ve become so hooked on them. Here’s why:
#1: You’re connected (or shall I say affected) 24/7
Sure, with Internet capacity, your smartphone is a like a portable and smaller version of a PC. You can be online on Twitter, Facebook, e-mails and whatever else social media app you have. That’s not good because you exist only on virtual reality. It affects, well…reality…as a whole.
Why not clean your room, or walk around the mall? Go read a book, or something. Speaking of, when was the last time you held a legit hardbound book? Or went hiking to see the world atop a mountain. Just do something apart from the “activities” on your smartphone – trust me, it’ll make you emotionally smart and mentally renewed.
#2: Your VIRTUAL social life is up, but your REAL social life is down!
Remember when we said that 24/7 connection to your smartphone affects real life? Yeah, this is one of them. Since you spend more and more time online (a study shows that people online spend 22% of their time on social media), you forget how to socialize with real people.
When was the last time you actually interacted with a group of people, said ‘hi’, or even carried a conversation with an actual human being? That was a million years ago. Now you’re just limited to acronyzed phrases such as LOL, OMG, ROFL, TCCIC, or GTGCMSPIKMSL*. Bet you can’t figure out that last one, huh?
#3: It messes up your sleeping patterns – which reduces your brain power
Sleeping late is another bad effect of being online too much because of game apps or social media. Lack of sleep cuts oxygen supply from your brain and brings down your mental alertness, which is just a nice way of saying lack of sleep due to excessive smartphone use makes you dumb. When I first got my smartphone (a Lenovo S890), I was late for a few weeks straight playing not even a downloaded game app (Fishing Joy was a fun game) and going online on Twitter and FB.
My average sleeping time was 1 am to 3 am. The worst was when I slept at around 5 am. My sleeping patterns have since returned to normal (11 pm latest), but that’s because I curbed my smartphone use to only texting, calls, and minor social media use before bedtime.
Anyways, this is a personal pet peeve of mine. Work is work. Home is home. There is a line that distinguishes that. Smartphones don’t just blur the line. They totally disregard it. When you’re accessible 24/7, that means your boss can send you e-mails during the unholiest or most unexpected hours of the day, and expect you to answer. Taking a dump? Expect an e-mail saying there’s a meeting in 5 minutes, and you need to respond. Nope, not being in the bathroom is an excuse because you were online.
Pretty soon all you can think of is work. Learn to balance to work/play and life. You can do this by turning off your Wi-Fi or data plan connection at home or in the car.
#5: Getting into an accident because you were distracted by your phone is DUMB!
Getting your text message, FB, or Twitter updates isn’t just mildly distracting; it completely takes your attention out of whatever you’re doing. Just the sound of your phone popping because of a fresh tweet makes you scramble for your phone faster than a zombie can say, “Brains!” Actually, you are a zombie. But instead of brains, you’re hankering for smartphones.
Your attention is diverted from important tasks like finishing that important document, driving, or life, in general. Getting into a vehicular accident or missing out on an important conversation because you were distracted by your smartphone is just dumb. As with the previous reason, it pays to turn it off.
*GTGCMSPIKMSL – Got to go ‘coz my smarpthone is killing my social life